Final month, town unveiled new busways on Jamaica and Archer avenues, touted as “the biggest bus improvement project in New York City history.”
At an Oct. 29 press convention, metropolis businesses, together with the Division of Transportation and NYC Transit, gathered with transit advocates and the group to chop the ribbon on the new busways. The one-year pilot initiatives are a part of Mayor de Blasio’s Higher Buses plan to put in new and improved bus lanes throughout town in 2021.
In accordance with town, the new Jamaica busways will assist to hurry commutes for about 250,000 riders a day — greater than any busway to this point — and likewise enhance truck and supply entry for native companies.
“This is a historic milestone in our effort to improve bus service for all New Yorkers,” mentioned DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “In terms of the number of lives improved each day, this is the biggest change we have made since the program began and the most dramatic transportation development in southeast Queens since the subway was extended in 1988.”
Gutman mentioned that Jamaica and Archer avenues had been chosen as a result of their roles as hubs of transit, schooling, enterprise and tradition.
“We’re doing it here because this is where it has the maximum impact,” he mentioned.
The Archer Avenue pilot is a bodily protected eastbound busway that covers a hundred and fiftieth Road to one hundred and sixtieth Road. The lanes are reserved for MTA and NICE buses solely, which have entry to those lanes 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
Commuter vans have marked pickup and dropoff zones on 153rd and one hundred and sixtieth Streets between Archer and Jamaica Avenue.
The Jamaica Avenue pilot begins at Sutphin Boulevard and extends to 168th Road in each instructions and provides entry to buses and industrial vehicles 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
Passenger automobiles are prohibited from driving alongside Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Avenue to 168th Road and might as an alternative use Hillside Avenue and Liberty Avenue. Autos can flip onto Jamaica Avenue from facet streets solely to journey quick distances they usually should usually make the following proper flip to exit the Avenue.
DOT instated new curbside laws to permit parking, truck loading and pedestrian house the place previous bus lanes had been eliminated.
“The completion of these new busways is a major boost for transit as we look to provide the world-class service our customers demand and deserve,” mentioned New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “Jamaica and Archer Avenues are major arteries right here in southeast Queens and dedicated bus lanes with help thousands of commuters across 26 routes get where they need to go faster and more efficiently.”
Cipriano cited the success of comparable bus lanes and automatic digicam enforcement in areas like 14th Road in Manhattan, Primary Road in Flushing and 181st Road in Washington Heights.
“If you’re not a bus, stay out of our bus lanes,” he mentioned.
Previous to starting the pilot initiatives, DOT held an “extensive community outreach process,” which concerned open homes to collect suggestions on the initiatives and practically 20 occasions with group advisory boards and different stakeholders in 2020 and 2021.
However not everybody in the group was thrilled about this main change in Jamaica. Resident Bruce Parker works for a metropolis company and is commonly inconvenienced when he drives round for his job. As a substitute of utilizing Jamaica Avenue, Parker mentioned he’s usually rerouted and compelled to drive for longer.
“I understand the bus lanes are important but to take the whole street and not have it for commuters is also an inconvenience for everybody, which I feel is not fair,” Parker mentioned.
Regardless of the DOT’s outreach course of, Parker felt that the group wanted extra engagement previous to finishing the venture.
“I feel like a better solution is just trying to figure out how best you can survey the community first before you do a project like this because I feel like projects like this are done without coming to the community to see what the community really needs.”